[OPE-L:4476] Re: Sraffa: a Marxist economist?

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Fri, 21 Mar 1997 02:56:47 -0800 (PST)

[ show plain text ]

Riccardo B. in ope-l 4471:

> Indeed, I referred in my previous
> mail to the *written* documents in the Sraffa archives in Cambridge which
> confirm, in my opinion, his attitute towards Marx. Of course, they are not
> public at the moment, and thats a pity. As I said, I wrote a paper with
> Potier on the basis of the archives, but it will not be possible (without
> the permission of Garegnani: which means, that the thing is almost
> impossible) to quote from the documents, only to make paraphrases.

Alejandro comments:

This, or course, reminds me an Italian novel: Eco's Il nome della
rosa, so that Garegnani = Jorge de Burgos, Potier = Adso de Melk,
Riccardo = Guglielmo di Baskerville. The Library is not in Italy, but
in Cambridge which perhaps improves the original scenary. My only
doubt is whether or not Sraffa's papers can be compared to
Aristotle's manuscripts. But, in any case, Riccardo: take care with


P.S. The "serious" question: It is not clear to me from your posts
if, on the basis of those misterious papers, we can say that
effectively Sraffa thought of himself as a "Marxist".
In any case, I think that this ("to be Marxist") in the Italian
context of Sraffa's life has a different meaning than today. It is
also important to remember Sraffa's important personal relationship
with Gramsci.

> I admit than the issue is a tricky one, and my "without doubts" is
> to me something which comes from something I see as common knowledge in the
> environment where I was formed, and from the reading of documents which are
> not public.
> Let me add two things: (i) if we want to stick at what Sraffa
> really said, it is clear that the Sraffa-based critique against Marx was
> never Sraffas criticism against Marx, since he never wrote against the
> latter, nor supported those who did; (ii) if we look at what Sraffa wrote,
> we saw that in the 196s0 book he put the value of the net product equal to
> 1, and then (in another paragraph) the quantity of living labour in the
> period as equal to 1. Then, is it not clear that the p/w relationship in
> Sraffa can be interpreted as the rate of exploitation in the New
> Interpretation-like readings of Marx? Of course, he thought at the rate of
> exploitation in a more traditional (and, may I dare to dsay, more correct
> way, that is in labour embodied terms) way. But what he actually wrote
> seems can be interpreted in either way.
> comradely
> riccardo
> Riccardo Bellofiore
> Department of Economics
> Piazza Rosate, 2
> I-24129 Bergamo, Italy
> e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
> tel: (39) 35 277505 (office)
> (39) 35 277501 (dept.)
> (39) 11 5819619 (home)
> fax: (39) 35 249975
> >